on vulnerability.

I recently had a talk with the man I am dating about how I was feeling vulnerable and didn’t want to think I was the only one in this boat. He bravely opened up and made himself vulnerable in response to my letting my guards down. So today I googled “vulnerability” and “dating” and a list of articles popped up. One of them was “Being Vulnerable and Increasing the Attraction”. I didn’t even click on the link.

When did being vulnerable become a game we play at to entice someone? To manipulate them into liking us?

Brené Brown says this of vulnerabililty –

Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process.

So if vulnerability is about trusting someone…isn’t it counterintuitive to use vulnerability in such an untrustworthy way? I don’t want my vulnerability to be a tool to lure a guy in. I want it to be a gift I share the more I feel safe with someone.

Over one phone conversation he mentioned that he feels we are in a stage where we are building a safe place to share and be vulnerable and get to know each other. A couple of nights ago I told him that everytime I shared something with him, he responds with such graciousness to where I feel like our safe space is expanding and we can talk about more vulnerable or intimate topics. I am slowly learning to trust him and feel safe sharing pieces of myself. It’s something I am grateful for and would never want to cheapen by “using” my vulnerability. I just want to BE vulnerable with him. Because he makes me feel like I can.

vulnerability

*In the midst of all this anxiety and feeling all the feels…I need to say…I am so grateful to God for this whole…whatever this is. i’m just grateful God decided to take me on this journey with this man. I’m keeping things in check but at the same time hopeful about where this might go.

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the space between.

Well. It went somewhere. The last 2 weeks have been a bit of a blur. Meeting the guy in person for the first time. Feeling all kinds of awkward. Panicking (again, internally) about what I should feel and how I really feel. Traveling together. Becoming more relaxed with each other. Being playful and flirty and affectionate. Developing real feelings. Dealing with uncertainty and insecurities. Having to say goodbye. Missing him. It’s crazy how life changes for a person in a handful of days.

I don’t want to get into the details of getting to know him. Those are private and special and I’d like to keep it that way. But we are now exclusively dating. I’m still not completely sure what that means. Isn’t that the same thing as being in a relationship? Or is that a step before you really dive in?

This is the space between. And I am terrified. I am terrified of being abandoned. Of possibly liking someone more than they like me. My past experiences always seem to have included men who pursued me and once I made the decision to like them back…they left. And I am so afraid that will happen again. But I got some really great advice from a guy friend who isn’t usually known for giving great advice…

You have to let his actions speak for him. You can’t put the actions of others on him.

Wise words.

What do I know about the guy? He’s honest. And open. And if he’s struggling with something he will let me know. He won’t intentionally hurt people. He loves Jesus. This is enough for me to take the baby steps of trusting him.

What do I know about God? He is with me. He is guiding this. He’s speaking to the both of us. He will work everything out for His glory. I can trust Him.

It is hard navigating the space between friendship and relationship. This could go either way. You don’t have an assurance that things will work out. You don’t always know what the other person is feeling. You worry about being out of sight = out of mind. You panic for no reason sometimes. You have to be patient and let the other person process at their own pace. And all while continuing to be vulnerable and open. I still have to invite him into my life and continue to take the risk of getting to know him. I still need to step out in faith. But faith in what?

Faith in God. He’s got this. He knows what is best. He knows what will grow us both. Faith in the guy. He’s a good person. He can lead and navigate this situation. I can take these small steps of trust. Faith in myself. I am worth being pursued. I am worth the difficulty of getting to know someone long distance. Because I am loved by the God who assigns me immeasurable worth.

Now it becomes a season of patience, and of “wait and see”. And maybe someday this space between us will be filled with something more.

the space between

this is what I’ve learned.

the great big north american adventure is over.

It’s been a wonderful trip. I went there thinking this was going to be mainly about the counseling program and as a consolation prize I’d get to see my friends…well that’s not exactly how things turned out.

The gift and the blessing was getting to see my friends. Meeting new people. Being blown away and overwhelmed by how generous and kind people are. I literally spent $350 CAD during my entire month-long trip (excluding the airfare of course). Everything else was provided for – food, beds, couches, hotels.  I stayed with people I didn’t know. I was toured around by friends of friends. It was amazing. It was something I badly needed – to be reminded of the goodness in people.

A bigger blessing was having the freedom to strip away everything people have told me about myself in the past couple of years and just feel free to be myself. No judgments. No unwelcome opinions. No one speaking into my life telling me what is and isn’t wrong with me. I learned so much about who I am as a person and I learned to stop trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I will always be one of those people that straddles cultures, that is forever in the camp of the outsiders and people who are labeled “not easy to understand”. That’s OK.

Some lessons I learned on this trip:

  1. People that are truly helpful will just help you. I met so many people that were willing to house me, feed me, tour me around. And yes, some were old and dear friends, but some were strangers – friends of friends that had heard that a girl from another country needed a place to stay and someone to host her. It was amazing to hear people say “What do you need? Let’s make it happen.” instead of just “I’ll pray for you.”
  2. Sometimes, the problem isn’t me. During the course of this trip I felt free to just be myself. I would say something about how shitty I felt or how angry or hurt I was…and instead of hearing “well, maybe it’s you” I heard “that’s such a horrible thing to go through”. Or “that doesn’t seem fair”.  Maybe it’s a cultural thing but back home it always feels like people are uncomfortable with “negative” emotions. If you are feeling angry or hurt or let down then you should find a way to deal with it quickly and move on. Never blame the other person. Never hold anyone accountable but yourself. It was so refreshing to be in an environment that seemed to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly. All in all it was great to have my feelings validated.
  3. Standards of beauty are different across the world. Where I live, people freely toss around opinions like “you got fat” or “you look tired” or “your eye bags are so dark!” (because you decided to forego makeup that day). While I was in North America not once did someone tell me to go put on more makeup. I lived in sneakers and leggings for a month and never felt more beautiful and accepted – even when I noticed that I had gained 8 lbs.

The biggest thing that I learned on this trip is to be myself. And to have the courage to fight for that authentic self – that beautifully broken, messy self. So that’s who I’m going to be from now on.

The Middle - Jimmy Eat World

The Middle – Jimmy Eat World

It has taken me 2 and a half months to actually write this down. This trip was so meaningful that it literally took all that time to process and organize my thoughts.

TRUTH THURSDAYS 3: SONGS THAT MAKE ME BRAVE

Now if you had asked me for “songs that make me depressed” or “songs that will rip your heart out and then crush it” I would have given you my entire blood & guts playlist (which is over 400 songs at last count and is really named “blood & guts” on my iphone). Unfortunately the prompt was for songs that make me brave. BLESS. Here goes:

king&lionheart

Of Monsters & Men’s “King & Lionheart”.
“Howling ghosts they reappear/ In mountains that are stacked with fear/ But you’re a king and I’m a lionheart./ A lionheart.”
I LOVE THIS SONG. So much so I want to get it tattooed on me (if I ever get a 2nd tat, this would be it!). Specifically the line “You’re THE King and I’m a Lionheart”. Notice the slight change in lyrics? I think you know where I’m going with this then :). This song in particular reminds me to be brave. The Lord is my King. I am his Lionheart. God doesn’t see me as weak. I’m his princess, made strong by who my King is. Yes, sometimes I’m the dainty feminine kind of princess…think Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. But more often than not I think He sees me as his warrior princess. (cue Xena yell).

Switchfoot’s “On Fire”.
“I’m standing on the edge of me/ I’m standing on the edge of everything I’ve never been before/ And I’ve been standing on the edge of me/ Standing on the edge/ And I’m on fire When You’re near me/ I’m on fire/ When You speak/ Yeah I’m on fire/ Burning at these mysteries”
My heartsong. I’m feel like I’m forever standing on the edge of who God wants me to be.

Switchfoot’s “You”.
“There’s always something in the way/ There’s always something getting through/ but it’s not me, it’s You, it’s You…I find peace when I’m confused/ I find hope when I’m let down/ not in me … me, in You/ it’s in you…I hope to lose myself for good/ I hope to find it in the end/ not in me … me in You”
I love Jon Foreman. I think you get that by now. Listening to his music is like reading my diary. Or at least, how I wish my diary would sound if it ever was read aloud. This song reminds me I’m not alone, it’s not me who’s the captain of my ship. It’s God. He’s got me. Hemmed me in, directing the way I should go. Psalm 139 – “You hem me in behind and before, and You lay your hand upon me…where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?” I can’t run. I can’t hide. I need to just surrender and LOSE MYSELF IN GOD.

Craig Cardiff’s “Dirty Old Town”. Relatively unknown Canadian singer writes the story of my life.
“dirty old town, dirty old town,/ they’ve got all your little problems clearly written down./ you don’t even know, don’t even see/ oh the butterfly that you’re going to be,/ the butterfly that you are becoming./ … you’re the one, you’re the one, you’re the one./ hearts grow into hearts until hearts become one./ you’re the one, you’re the one./ i carry you heart in my heart sung with every song.”
For the longest time, I never saw myself as anything other than a dirty person inside and out. I was so full of self loathing just looking in the mirror would reduce me to tears. Who knew there was someone precious under all that self-hate? He saw it. And then He saved me. And that is the best, brightest, biggest love story in my life. Nothing will ever compare.

Lifehouse’s “Breathing”.
“Cause I am hanging/ on every word you say/ and even if you don’t want to speak tonight/ that’s alright, alright with me/ Cause I want nothing more than/ to sit outside your door and/ listen to you breathing/ that’s where I want to be”
If that’s all I get out of life-just the opportunity to hear Him breathing. To know He’s there. I’ll be okay.
Psalm 84:10 – “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere”.

Wicked’s “Defying Gravity”. Of course, we had to have some Broadway here yes? I mean really.
“Something has changed within me/ Something is not the same/ I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game/ Too late for second-guessing/ Too late to go back to sleep/ It’s time to trust my instincts/ Close my eyes and leap!/ It’s time to try/ Defying gravity/ I think I’ll try/ Defying gravity/ And you can’t pull me down!”

Kanye West & Daft Punk’s “Stronger”. HEY. I like R&B/Hip Hop/Rap. DON’T HATE.
“Work it harder, make it better,/ do it faster, makes us stronger,/ more than ever, never over,/ Our work is never over.”

Enjoy the playlist 🙂